Monday, 25 April 2011

British Christians unmartyred

it would appear that British Christians aren't quite as martyred and oppressed as some like to make out.

A recent case, where a Christian electrician was facing disciplinary action for refusing to remove a palm cross from his company vehicle, has been resolved, with his employer backing down (1).

There's been much fulmination in the Daily Mail about this, most of it profoundly (and probably deliberately) missing the point (2).

Mr Atkinson claims he is not being allowed to practise his Christian faith, but in what way? He's being told he can't display a cross in a company vehicle. Being a Christian isn't about making ostentatious displays of virtue and faithfulness.
He should, perhaps consider the words of Jesus:
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. (3)
They aren't forcing him to pray to Mecca or worship Cthulhu. Just obey the same rules as everyone else who works for them - no personal paraphernalia in company vehicles.

Telling him to remove the cross from his care doesn't stop him 'practising' his faith. Just stops him making an ostentatious display of his piety. Which both Jesus Christ and Wakefield and District Housing disapprove of.

The decision by his employer to let him keep his cross is pragmatic enough resolution, and I'm always in favour of employers addressing the concerns of their employees. But kow-towing to religious special pleading sets a bad precedent. Wonder how many of the people supporting him would offer similar support to a Muslim refusing to handle alcohol?
1 - "Christian electrician wins cross battle," by Nick Collins. Published in the Telegraph, 22nd of April, 2011. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/8468073/Christian-electrician-wins-cross-battle.html)
2 - Persecuted for his cross: Electrician told he faces the sack for Christian symbol on his van dashboard, "by Jonathan Petre. Published in The Daily Mail, 17th April 2011. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1377684/Electrician-Colin-Atkinson-faces-sack-Christian-cross-van-dashboard.html#ixzz1JlgOhBLg)
3 - The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, Chapter 6, verse 1. New international Version. (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+6&version=NIV)

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